Australia is looking for private companies to handle the biometrics information collection component of its visa process as the number of applications has risen dramatically since the start of this year, according to The Canberra Times.
The new process is expected to begin from March 2023.
A tender was recently launched in this regard, the outlet reports, and successful companies will have the responsibility to collect the biometric data of visa applicants from capture centers abroad, verify and match them before transmitting the information to the Home Affairs Department for the rest of the issuance process, the report explains. It will continue to take the final decision on whether to grant the visa requests or not.
The Home Affairs Department says with an average 27,000 monthly visa applications in 2021, the figures jumped geometrically to 137,144 and 225,514 respective for the months of February and March 2022. The department attributes the high demand for the visas to the resumption of global travel which is triggering a boom in economic activities across the board.
Apart from reducing the visa issuance backlog, the outsourcing will also ensure the visa application fee is not significantly increased, authorities say.
The move is also part of ongoing plans by Australia’s federal government to upgrade its visa issuance system and make it more efficient to meet traveler expectations, notes The Canberra Times.
Such innovations also include the introduction of a digital health pass which was launched in December last year, but later suspended with plans to re-introduce an upgraded version.
Australia is undertaking a number of digital transformation projects at the moment such as age verification technologies. It is also implementing the Trusted Digital Identity Framework which prescribes how how digital identity services should be delivered.